Analysing a mock draft from ‘The 33rd Team’

January 4th, 2023 | Written by Rob Staton

Earlier today a new mock draft was posted by ‘The 33rd Team’ — a website that has recruited a number of experienced contributors from within the NFL including current players, former executives and coaches.

For that reason I think it’s a projection worth paying attention to. There’s no name attached to the mock, suggesting it’s a collaborative effort. As you can see within the article, there’s analysis from broadcaster Charles Davis and former Vikings GM Rick Spielman discussing the prospects included.

I wanted to discuss this mock because it delivers a projection worthy of a conversation.

They have Bryce Young going first overall to the Texans. Personally, I think this is unlikely. Young’s size isn’t really being talked about as a flashpoint but I suspect it will be. There’s a chance the Texans will be enamoured by his natural ability, excellent demeanour and college performance. However, there’s no getting away from his 5-10 and 185lbs frame being far removed from anything we’ve seen in the NFL before.

With other similarly graded QB’s available who fit the ‘big, strong, athletic’ prototype, I suspect Young will last a bit longer than most mocks are suggesting. I wouldn’t anticipate a big fall but I also wouldn’t expect him to be the first quarterback taken. Top-10 remains a possibility though.

‘The 33rd Team’ themselves have Young listed at #12 on their internal big board — presumably due to the size factor.

Nevertheless, he’s first off the board in this mock.

The Bears make a pick at #2 and don’t trade down. They select Will Anderson.

Increasingly I think it’s inevitable Chicago will move down to acquire extra stock. They have a shell of a roster. They don’t have extra picks to spend and are in the middle of a massive rebuild.

I think a deal could be struck long before the draft takes place. We’ve seen pre-draft trades in recent years.

The Rams and Eagles traded into the top two picks in 2016 long before the draft. They knew there were two quarterbacks they were comfortable drafting at the top of the board (Jared Goff and Carson Wentz) and therefore had no reason to wait until draft day to make their move.

The 49ers traded up to #3 in 2021, again knowing they liked at least three quarterbacks and would be guaranteed one by having a top-three pick. Then, the Dolphins (who made the trade with the Niners) traded up to #6 with the Eagles.

Last year the Saints gave Philly their 2023 first rounder for the #19 pick — again long before the draft started.

All of these deals happened before any team was on the clock.

With so many teams needing a quarterback, I can imagine suitors looking at the Bears and preparing a bid for when the new league year begins. I think a bidding war will likely ensue and the Bears (and possibly the Texans) will get great offers.

In the top-10 alone — Indianapolis, Detroit, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Carolina all need a QB. Possibly Seattle too. You can include Tennessee and Washington, just outside the top-10. Plus the Jets and Tampa Bay.

People in the media have soured on this QB class after hyping it up to the max last summer. However, we saw this in the Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson year. I think the teams are readying themselves to get after the top four QB’s and we’ll see an early rush on the position.

The Bears have already announced they are sitting Justin Fields this week. I suspect the reason is two-fold — to rest the battered quarterback but to also give themselves the best possible opportunity to control the draft by ‘earning’ the #1 pick. If (when) the Bears lose to the Vikings, they would gain the #1 pick from Houston if the Texans beat the struggling Colts.

One way or another, I think the Bears are going to be determined to trade down. I think it’s very likely two quarterbacks will go first and second, unless the Texans decide to take a defender first overall.

If this happens — the Seahawks themselves might get a big offer for the chance to get to the third quarterback — just as the Dolphins did in 2021 via the 49ers. They might prefer to draft the third quarterback themselves, to stash behind Geno Smith as a long-term successor. Or they may take whoever they prefer from Will Anderson or Jalen Carter.

Either way, there are options.

I’m going to find it hard to do a mock myself where I don’t have the Bears trading down. That’s a key reason why I wanted to highlight this mock as an alternative. Chicago takes Anderson and the Seahawks take C.J. Stroud.

Quite aside from the fact Stroud looks fantastic in his Seahawks jersey mock-up in the article, he might quite like landing in Seattle:

Without wanting to go over old ground too much, I think it would be a really justifiable pick by the Seahawks.

Stroud is a fantastic passer of a football. I’ve not watched a player throw with his level of touch since starting the blog in 2008. His ability to throw to all areas of the field with accuracy and perfect velocity is so impressive. His ball-placement is elite even on longer, downfield throws.

The only question mark I ever had was his ability to play off-script and away from the constraints of the Ohio State system. Frankly, I think it’s poor on the coaches at Ohio State that they didn’t take the shackles off and let Stroud run the offense this year. He was still getting coverage advice and adjustments from the sideline. He didn’t run the show. It was all too rigid and it’s why — as with Michael Penix Jr and Hendon Hooker — we saw ugly interceptions where the scheme calls to look off the safety and throw almost blind to a spot. When the defense ID’s it — it’s easy to anticipate and make a play on the ball.

We’ve seen other Ohio State quarterbacks struggle when they don’t have the benefit of playing on a loaded roster while having their hand held at the sideline. Stroud is a far more naturally gifted passer that Cardale Jones, Dwayne Haskins or Justin Fields. Yet there was a lingering worry over his environment at Ohio State not being great preparation for the league.

The Georgia game changed everything for me. For the first time Stroud showed he could handle pressure up front, improvise in the pocket and extend plays. He kept his eyes downfield and threw wonderful, exceptional passes into tight windows. He escaped the pocket and flashed great athleticism as a runner. He put in a complete performance against the best team in college football.

Seeing that happen, against Georgia no less, convinced me he can be a top, top player in the NFL. He might need a bit of time and he might experience some teething problems. There’s no doubt though — he at least has the potential to join the Mahomes/Allen/Herbert/Burrow group and be part of the next generation of top QB’s. It doesn’t mean it’ll happen but it’s possible.

Talent is talent at the end of the day. Stroud, like Will Levis, has skills you just can’t teach. If Stroud is off the board when Seattle picks, the Seahawks should also strongly consider taking Levis:

Setting up an Alex Smith-to-Mahomes style torch-passing would be ideal for Seattle. Aside from the fact they’d still have another first round pick, two second round picks and a third round pick to improve the defense — they could potentially create a best of both worlds scenario. Short term improvement for the defense, keep a good veteran starting QB while also having a long term plan at quarterback.

You bring back Geno Smith as the starter on a two or three-year deal. If you decide to move on in 2024 or 2025 — you might be able to trade Smith. The Chiefs got Kendall Fuller and a third rounder out of Washington when they dealt Alex Smith to turn to Mahomes after a redshirt season.

There was no drama behind the scenes as Mahomes waited for his chance. I suspect Geno Smith would be highly motivated by the prospect of competition and would up the ante, even with a new handsome contract, to keep his gig (or win a chance elsewhere after 2023). Stroud, Levis, Bryce Young and Anthony Richardson all have excellent character and are unlikely to create any internal problems.

To me it makes perfect sense. Far more sense than ignoring the position because you think a player who turns 33 next October is capable of leading you to the promise land while defying Father Time to play deep into his 30’s (which, let’s accept, most players cannot do — not everyone is Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers).

I think there could be an interesting dynamic coming up if John Schneider really likes one of the quarterbacks in this draft (and I suspect he will). Is he likely to want to go in that direction, setting up the long-term future of the team? After all, by all accounts he was keen to draft Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen. Is he really going to pass on the opportunity to draft a quarterback in the top-five this year, simply because Geno Smith has had an unexpected season aged 32?

Alternatively, Pete Carroll — who is not likely to be coaching for another 10 years — might be more inclined to improve the defense as part of a more short-term mindset to get better asap (even though plenty of D-liners have needed time to reach their best, such as Quinnen Williams).

Who wins that argument if the sides differ? Of course, it’s possible they’ll share similar views. Or maybe they won’t.

For me — a quarterback or a defensive lineman is justifiable. Some of the arguments made by fans essentially saying a QB shouldn’t even be considered with the top pick, however, are absolutely baffling. It should be on the table and almost certainly will be within the walls of the VMAC.

Ultimately though my best guess is C.J. Stroud and Will Levis (in either order) will be the top-two picks. That is what I would suggest at this very, very early stage. If that happens, it might make it more likely the Seahawks take a defensive lineman first.

Seattle’s second pick in ‘The 33rd Team’ mock draft I am less keen on.

They have the Seahawks picking Clemson linebacker Trenton Simpson. I have watched every Clemson game from 2022, focusing solely on the defensive snaps. Simpson had a poor season.

He was asked to become a more complete linebacker and it didn’t suit him. In 2021 he was a blitzing attack dog — used almost exclusively to sprint into the backfield as an extra rusher. He had 6.5 sacks and 12.5 TFL’s and was able to flash his quickness and aggression in a role that wasn’t particularly taxing and just allowed him to make plays.

In a more conventional linebacker role, he often disappeared in games. His numbers dropped to a measly 2.5 sacks and only four TFL’s. Clemson’s run defense wasn’t very good and they were embarrassed against Notre Dame. Run defense is the least of Simpson’s worries though. Despite his athleticism he struggles in coverage (62.7 PFF grade) and he’s not a particularly sure tackler. He’s just didn’t have much impact and didn’t make many plays.

He’s more of an athlete than consistent performer. His overall PFF grade in 2022 was only a 68.3 — good for 326th best in college football. That’s not what you expect from a top-20 pick.

He’s going to perform very well at the combine. Reports suggest he can jump a 35 inch vertical and a 10-2 broad. It’s believed he can run in the 4.3’s or 4.4’s.

Simpson does have the kind of athleticism Seattle likes but I have a hard time thinking he’s a player they can plug in and expect to succeed. He’s an athletic project whose performance doesn’t warrant a first round grade. He should be a day-two pick you bring in to work with and develop. Again — he’s a good athlete with a ton of upside but he’s a mile off someone who can impact the NFL.

Jamin Davis faced similar issues. He tested brilliantly at a similar size to Simpson — running a 4.48 and jumping a 40 inch vertical and an 11-0 broad. He’s never become more than a good athlete. This year he has a 62.1 PFF grade. Last year he was a 46.8. A lot of people in Washington already want to replace him — only two years after he was taken #19 overall (ironically where Simpson is projected to Seattle in this mock).

I do think, however, this is the benefit of having two firsts and two second round picks. You are still able to spend premium stock on your defense, even after adding a quarterback. If you don’t take a QB with that top pick — good luck finding one worth taking later on.

Anthony Richardson is going to go a lot earlier than people think. Hendon Hooker has a knee injury, he turns 25 this month and benefitted greatly from the scheme in Tenneesee. Max Duggan? Dorian Thompson-Robinson? Stetson Bennett? Not exactly sure bets to become starting QB’s. That’s about it.

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155 Responses to “Analysing a mock draft from ‘The 33rd Team’”

  1. Denver Hawker says:

    I agree with the logic around Bears trading down, but a wrinkle right now is that they have $122MM in projected cap space. Albeit with 35 contracted players today, that’s still a lot of room to build a roster before the draft.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Absolutely — and that could be a factor

      But if someone offers them a Trey Lance trade, they probably have to take it

      Sitting Fields feels like a tell for their intentions

      • Denver Hawker says:

        Yeah- I agree with all that. The Trey Lance trade seems like the kind of yardstick that teams will want to avoid doing again, but there are some desperate owners/GMs out there.

      • Palatypus says:

        Or maybe they can get Trey Lance for a cup of coffee.

    • MyChestisBeastMode says:

      Some national radio pundits last night were saying the Bears were positioning themselves to trade away Fields and use their cap to go after Lamar Jackson as a first choice and then a defensive player with top pick or one of these rookie QBs if Lamar can’t be signed.

      • Rob Staton says:

        Why would they trade Fields for the same, albeit more injured, QB — at a much higher cost

        And the Ravens will tag and trade him, they won’t just let him walk

  2. cha says:

    Somehow Jalen Carter seems perfect at #4 to Arizona.

    Immensely talented, an obvious pick, and will have some ‘wow’ moments in the NFL but ultimately never reaches his ceiling as a Cardinal.

    Not sure why. Maybe echoes of Isaiah Simmons, Hassan Reddick and Robert Nkemdiche.

    • BK26 says:

      I agree, something just feels, right with that. Gives me Nkemdiche vibes. Conditioning, work ethic, maybe some character issues, and TALENT. Maybe they learned their lesson. Maybe they still feel like they need to swing for the fences and find their new Calais Campbell.

    • Denver Hawker says:

      Totally agree with this- most Seahawks fans would lose their minds too

      • cha says:

        If Young goes say #8-12, fans are going to harangue the teams that picked #1-7 and hail the team that got him as geniuses who struck gold in a spot where you’re much less likely to.

        It will be unbearable.

        And then the season will start and the first big hit Young takes everyone will hold their breath.

  3. Rob4q says:

    What if the Seahawks were to do a trade back with Carolina that included Matt Coral? If they resign Geno or Lock they would still have a veteran QB for 2023 and could evaluate Coral as well. Something like:

    Seahawks get Coral, #9, #60, 2024 1st

    Panthers get #4

    Seahawks could still draft a QB later to also be part of the mix, maybe DTR, Duggan, Bennett or one of the others. QB room would be Geno/Lock, Coral + rookie.

    Options at #9 could be nice should a defender drop.

  4. BK26 says:

    I just really wish we could have seen one more game of Stroud’s to have a bigger sample size of everything clicking. OSU coaching and the offense still worries me. Hopefully it didn’t stunt any growth or have any effects on him. I don’t think it will; he seems too talented.

    And those throws from Levis from that point of view. CRISP. I still get irritated that people are writing him off when he could be the best of the bunch. The excuses against him are ridiculous.

    Once again, glad we have an open community that even if we don’t agree, we aren’t total whiny pricks to each other.

  5. Rob Staton says:

    This will probably get little traction but still…

    https://twitter.com/robstaton/status/1610767892986871808

    • Trevor says:

      This is a great point Rob. Can you think of one example where a rookie DL came in and turned around the fortunes of a defense year #1?

    • Trevor says:

      I can think of lots of examples where a new Coach / scheme change turned around a defense but not a rookie DL. Aaron Donald was perhaps the closest but that defense was not bad like the Hawks.

    • Peter says:

      Worrisome on that thread that someone thinks there’s FA money to fix the team.

      Seems like your supposition about signing geno last year might be right.

    • CHaquesFan says:

      Especially not 2 project players like Anderson and Carter, you could definitely make the argument that they would if they were a Bosa, Garrett-esque caliber player

  6. Red says:

    Hey Rob,
    Do you think there is a chance that Richardson will last until the hawks second first round pick? He seems like the kind of guy John would fall in love with, has all the tools it seems and would absolutely benefit sitting behind Geno if we can keep him. In your Boxing day Mock you had him going second overall I think.
    You are absolutely right about being able to take care of the QFOTF as well as shore up the defense with as many picks as we have in the first couple rounds. Its an exciting draft, the hawks have a chance to really build a good young core between this draft and last years.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think it’s unlikely Richardson will last that long given the need at QB across the league and the fantastic upside he has

      • Ben says:

        I keep wondering if it’s worth the risk to trade down to 6 or 9 in hopes of snagging Richardson and adding other 1st/2nd round talent.

        I really want to leave the draft with Van Pran, Kancey and Skinner as disruptors in addition to a QB of the future. Unless Stroud is there at #3, I’m unsure about sticking around to get Anderson, Carter, Young or Levis.

        • DAWGFan says:

          I believe Young and Stroud will both be gone by the time the Hawks pick. Chicago is going to get a king’s ransom for the #2. Levis to me has lost a lot of shine. He’s regressed, consistently making bad decisions, and regardless of the talent around him he doesn’t elevate his team. If you are an elite talent you should make teammates better, he hasn’t proved he is capable of that. I love Richardson’s potential but that is really all it is right now. You don’t draft a QB top 5 on potential alone. Zach Wilson is a prime example and looks to be a complete bust. I thought he was Kyle Allen coming out of college. I now realize how disparaging that is to Kyle Allen.

          • Rob Staton says:

            Yeah, bloody Levis not blocking for himself so he can also throw the ball.

            For me, a top class QB should be able to do his own blocking.

            Bad Levis. Bad bad Levis.

  7. AlaskaHawk says:

    I love that quarterback perspective of throwing a ball to a receiver. It gave me a real feel for how long it takes for the ball to get to a guy running down the field.

  8. KennyBadger says:

    FWIW I listen a fair amount to 670am out of Chicago which is their local sports talk affiliate and there is real debate amongst hosts, guests, and fans about drafting carter/Anderson vs trading back for more picks. There is little debate that the Bears roster is terrible and they need a lot of help. I 100% agree with Rob that if they get a trey lance level offer they will take it. Any suggestion that they would draft a qb is also immediately dismissed. I think 2 qbs are gone by #3 and you’ll still have stroud, Levis, or Richardson as options.

    • TomLPDX says:

      So who is the 2nd QB off the board before the third pick?

      • KennyBadger says:

        Obviously that would depend on the front office of the team trading into the spot. It’s not obvious to me what each teams grades would be but I think there’s an OK chance Young goes in the top 2. If that happens then Richardson is on the board unless his predraft resume goes off the charts.

      • Ashish says:

        Reason top 3 pick is very important. Even in worst case Hawks can have C J Stroud, Will Levis or Richardson.

        • KennyBadger says:

          Totally agree man.

        • Troy says:

          With the Colts, Cardinals and Bears in complete tank mode and the Broncos going all out, I highly doubt we will be sitting at #3 come Monday.

          • KennyBadger says:

            I think the chargers will help us out.

            • Troy says:

              I hope you are right, but I expect the Chargers to play their backups after the Ravens lose to the Bengals in the early time slot.

              • dand393 says:

                Chargers already said there plying there starters

                • Michael Gustafson says:

                  Not entirely true. Staley said the Chargers were going for the 5 seed. But now that the NFL is placing the Ravens at Bengals game in the early time slot, Staley now acknowledges that if the Ravens (without Lamar Jackson) lose at the favored Bengals, he will adjust that strategy. Because the Chargers will have already clinched the 5-seed.

                  At this point, Seahawks fans should be pulling REALLY hard for the pathetic Colts to beat the Texans. Otherwise, the 5th pick is likely.

          • Ashish says:

            In Russ we trust, he will manage to do one last favor to hawks.

  9. WallaSean says:

    I would like to see us trade back to 5. It might be a little risky just to add a day 2 pick, but if Indy prefers Stroud and we ended up with Levis or Richardson I would prefer that. John Schneider does like to trade back, I’ll be expecting one or two.

    • Jeff says:

      But how would we know who Indy likes? What if Indy is trading up because they want Levis or Richardson (in the scenario that’s the QB the Seahawks actually want)?

  10. Rob Staton says:

    It’s amazing really that all the stuff being said about Josh Allen is now being said about Will Levis

    It’s almost as if playing for Wyoming or Kentucky is harder than playing for a wide open spread system for a powerhouse college full of good recruits…

    • Ashish says:

      I hope it stays like that in media and JS is able to pick Will Levis via first pick. I’m convinced he will do it, hope CJ Stroud is picked first, Bears takes defense Will or Carter are worth it for re-building team.

  11. geoff u says:

    If Stroud or Levis are there you absolutely have to pull the trigger, and hopefully get your next franchise quarterback for another decade of potential super bowl bids. Open to taking either of the other two QB’s as well, I will give the benefit of the doubt to the front office on that one if they make that pick. As bad as the defense was (and good as Geno Smith was), there were quite a few games where an extra TD drive or two could’ve got us a win. Offense wins in this league now, thanks to years of rule changes, and QB is king.

    I really think it’s a no-brainer.

    Also, according to that mock Bijan Robinson goes 23rd. Some might call it overkill, but I’d love a backfield with Walker/Robinson…

    • CHaquesFan says:

      I’d rather have a WR3 there to help the offense instead of another RB + they could take over after Lockett moves on

      • geoff u says:

        I’m not opposed to the idea of that, but is the #3 receiver on the board going to be a generational talent that Robinson might be? Personally, I doubt Robinson will be available with our second pick so this is probably moot anyway.

  12. Denver Hawker says:

    A huge benefit to signing Geno to an extension is the flexibility it gives the team in drafting a QB. If we don’t sign Geno, their hand is forced at #3 (not complaining here). If they sign him though, they can get Will Anderson if he’s there and still trade up for Richardson (who I’ve assumed is the 4th QB taken) or simply trade back and load up on picks. Obviously, 2 sides need to agree, but the flexibility in the draft is massive.

    • Peter says:

      The problem as I see it as when does Seattle get a top 3 pick again? Regardless of signing geno.

  13. Rob Staton says:

    https://chargerswire.usatoday.com/2023/01/02/chargers-playoffs-afc-wild-card-brandon-staley-fifth-seed/

    On Monday, head coach Brandon Staley assured that he will not be resting his starters in the season finale against the Broncos.

    “Our approach is definitely going to get a shot to win this ballgame and play as well as we can play heading into the playoffs,” Staley said. “I think that there’s certainly an advantage to be in the No. 5 seed, from where I stand, so we’re going to try to get there.

    “Then, the case-by-case nature of the players, I think that that is the approach that we’re going to take, in terms of whether or not to sit them. If there’s something that we feel like that would be a good decision, we’ll take that case by case.”

    Being the fifth seed is the most ideal scenario for Los Angeles.

    With the No. 5 seed, the Chargers would play the fourth seed, which will be the AFC South winner between the 7-9 Titans and the 8-8 Jaguars.

    If they finish as the sixth seed, Los Angeles would have to face the third seed, whether that be the Bills, Chiefs, Bengals, or Ravens, on the road.

    • Gaux Hawks says:

      … but they may lock up the fifth seed before kickoff

      • Rob Staton says:

        True, but you can’t prepare with your starters all week and then just toss the game off

        • Roy Batty says:

          Add in the fact that many players have performance clauses in their contracts, paying them hundreds of thousands for specific metrics. They won’t want to pass up easy money, especially on the defensive side against that Broncos offense.

    • Adam says:

      This is just so frustrating. Seahawks have been screwed on both fronts in the scheduling. The NFL can do one.

      As much as I enjoy this latest piece Rob, I think we need to seriously expect the #5 (Colts have always been a fantastic tanking team when they’ve needed to be). Would love to see what you think happens if we are in that slot.

      • Rob Staton says:

        If it’s number five I still think one of Carter or Anderson will be there

        Colts and Texans QB, someone trades up into 2, Arizona defense

        I can’t get angry about the scheduling to be honest. Seattle blew too many games this year for me to care about the Packers vs Lions and the Broncos pick is a gift, whether it’s #3 or #5.

        • Adam says:

          Completely agree Seahawks blew a great opportunity with some winnable games, but it does hurt to have the chance of playoffs reduced by an unnecessary decision – I appreciate you aren’t necessarily a fan of having a playoff run.

          Think you are right that one of the DL boys will be there at #5. Any chance it is the Seahawks who trade up to #2 with da Bears? Draft ammo, JS goes for his guy. I really could see him being a Will Levis fan.

          • Scot04 says:

            I can imagine the Twitterverse of Seattle in this situation.
            Imagine if they see Young still available as well as Carter. So many on Seattle radio pounding the table for Young if we take a QB at 3.
            Then it i would come down to the size of Young vrs Can you rely on Carter playing enough snaps to justify a top 5 pick.
            If it’s Richardson vrs Carter I’d be much happier with either pick by Seattle.
            Young makes me more nervous than Carter.
            So I’ll be hoping hard Houston for some reason falls in love with Young despite the size & surprise me by talking him.

  14. Omar says:

    So currently I believe that Levis and Stroud are the top 2 QBs in the class. But there should be different situations if either of them are drafted by the Seahawks, if they’re still there at 3. If you pick Levis then I would really hope the Seahawks don’t re-sign Geno. Levis needs to get on the field as soon as possible since he’ll be turning 24 this summer. If Stroud is picked then I would be interested in him getting some time to learn from Geno.

    And this is all dependent on who JS likes the most as his QB. It very well could be Anthony Richardson.

    • GrittyHawk says:

      The challenge with that line of thinking is that there are 6 weeks between the start of free agency and the draft. Maybe Geno won’t sign before then, but you can’t exactly go to him and say hold on, we want to see if we can replace you first. There’s nothing to stop him from packing his bags if he inevitably draws interest elsewhere.

      The best we can hope for is that if we do re-sign Geno, it does not become a reason not draft a QB.

  15. BobbyK says:

    I so badly hope the Broncos lose Sunday! I’m sure we all do.

    I want to be at #3 so bad. I want to know they are guaranteed a QB. Then just know you don’t need to sign Geno and move forward as a franchise.

    The training wheels were on Wilson his first year as a starter. They didn’t open things up a tiny bit until about mid-season. Then you don’t have to waste millions on Geno and can get help in other areas.

    I know guys like Mahomes and Rodgers thrived redshirting, but Big Ben and Herbert didn’t need it and I happen to think if Mahomes and Rodgers had started as rookies that they’d still be perfectly fine/great today. Josh Allen isn’t ruined because he struggled as a rookie. If anything, it’s made him better (and more experienced).

    • Peter says:

      Not bad points.

      I’m not sure what the benefit of paying geno 25 or more million a year.

      He has more yards. More tds. Also more ints than russ last year and tge teamis looking a net benefit of between one and maybe two more wins. That’s it.

      A really, really good story for geno. But his play has not elevated the team any farther than most any season before his start. For a lot of fans that was the knock on the other qb. Geno got tyler, dk, three te’s who all stayed healthy most of the season, two tackles, and the first rb to be objectively good in years for most of the season and we’re looking at best a nine win team with a poor strength of schedule.

      And I’m not blaming the guy in the slightest.

      I’m just saying draft young qb, pay them a ton less and spend that money on a good RG, good lb, the best dlinemen you can get, third wr, another safety to pair with neal, or other ( not all obviously) and let the draft come to you as much as possible.

      • SoZ says:

        You make a good point Peter. Wish I had some faith that this FO will not be FA misers for.the umpteenth season…its not a flea market…
        Could be a bit rough with Lock as the bridge QB…does anyone care about that?

        • Peter says:

          Btw if they can secure geno in some alternate world for sub 20 million I’d love for him to stay.

          Past FO moves suggest he’s getting a big contract which will seem fine and I think a lot of fans will rejoice.

          Just staring down the barrel of 7-10 wins in a now 17 game season….I don’t know. Will be hard to go get a qb in any upcoming draft.

          Per lock. I don’t know. Maybe he’s not a bridge. I think levis and maybe Stroud could give him a run right out of the gate. Whereas richardson may have to sit.

        • cha says:

          I am really concerned that people are just waving off Geno’s fantastic season.

          PC puts together even a middling defense and this team is 10-6 or 11-5.

          Once again, PC has put so much pressure on the QB with a porous defense that he presses and makes mistakes.

          And once again, fans focus so much on a couple bad Geno throws a game they completely swallow all the excuses about this defense.

          What will the narrative be next year if Geno is gone and the QB isn’t a 70% passer with a 29/6 split and the defense is the same defense we’ve seen for the last 5 years?

          • Peter says:

            I’m not waving off geno in the slightest.

            He’ll probably break Wilson’s yardage total ( with an extra game) 29/9 is a great split.

            But if we are doing what if’s….what if we sign geno for 25-30 the bulk of the current space the defense is still middling because they haven’t shown since 2017 they can build a defense and we now sit somewhere in the 18-22 range for the remainder of geno’s new contract and they haven’t selected a qb, how do they get one then?

            I’m not focused on any of geno’s bad play because I think he’s played admirably. But this team evidently needs 35-40 tds to overcome this crap defense and not to be backing into the playoffs.

            Also I’d rather take the lumps on a cheap qb and hope to build a roster with fifth year options and 8 million a year rather than hope that geno is a double outlier being the rare player that 10 years into his career gets good and also matches the productivity as he ages that almost no one has maintained outside of a tiny handful of qbs.

            • cha says:

              My comment wasn’t directed at you Peter just on the same topic.

              I do not think it’s an either/or situation.

              Like Rob has discussed, adding defensive talent is not necessarily the silver bullet with this team. It’s coaching.

              And there are ways to get Geno under contract and make practical additions to the roster. Granted it will take some creative thinking but it can be done.

              • Peter says:

                Cards on the table…

                My absolute preferred option is resign Geno and draft qb.

                That is a dream scenario most teams rarely get. I think many though certainly not all qbs thrust into starting have failed because the teams getting them through natural collapse aren’t one qb away.

                And this team is not objectively bad. So take the gift from the broncos, get smart with the cap, and really set our team up for success.

                • cha says:

                  get smart with the cap, and really set our team up for success

                  100%

                  I’m percolating some ideas on that

                • BobbyK says:

                  If you’re drafting Stroud or Levis or Young at #3… you’re not drafting them to get coddled by Geno Smith and waste millions in Geno’s salary when the rookie should be playing.

                  The only way I’d be okay with Geno coming back at north of $20 million is if they ended up lower than 3 is with Richardson. He’s the guy who could use a Patrick Mahomes year and watching Geno. He’s young and green, though probably has the most upside, too. Personally, I’d still rather have Richardson and no Geno, but I wouldn’t mind Geno either.

                  If the Broncos lose this weekend and we’re guaranteed top 3… I wouldn’t even bother a serious attempt at resigning Geno.

                  • Peter says:

                    Why though would you not sit a qb if you had the opportunity to?

                    This is such a rare thing in sports now. To have a good qb and to be able to get an even better hopefully or at least future one.

                    Stroud was awesome against Georgia. Ohio doesn’t run a pro system.

                    Levis maybe I could see it.

                    It’s not so much about wasting millions it’s more like teams don’t get a top five pick and already have a qb.

                    I get your premise and I’m not in love with paying geno 30 odd million. If another team wants to then let them. But he’s had one good year in a system he’s been in for two. I’m not sure what his market is.

                  • Rob Staton says:

                    Personally I am very much in favour of keeping Geno Smith and drafting a QB — doing what the Chiefs did with Mahomes

                    You might be able to trade Geno in 12 months like KC did with Smith

  16. Gaux Hawks says:

    Weekly Win Wish List:

    CHARGERS !!

  17. Don says:

    The more I’ve read, here and other sites, and run draft simulators the more I’ve been convinced that we need to go QB for our first pick and look to trade back(which we know they love) with our 2nd to add another pick or two, then target defense with our late 1st/early 2nd rd picks. Just seems like the drop-off from Anderson/Carter to the talent in the late 1st/early 2nd is substantially less than the QB’s beyond the top 4. IMO, one of the top 4 QB’s + late 1st defender >>>> Anderson/Carter + late 1st pick

  18. KD says:

    Here’s a great breakdown and analysis of Will Levis:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKxMSijJ-Do

  19. Big Boi says:

    Broncos line has moved as much as 6 points, from Denver +3 to now Denver -2.5. I think that tells you all you need to know about what Vegas thinks Staley is gonna do.

    • Rob Staton says:

      They had Seahawks as 1.5 point underdogs last week too so not going to lose any sleep over this. I made a killing on that gift

    • Ben says:

      A fun exercise: how might the hawks approach the draft if we didn’t have the Broncos first. Or maybe just if the Broncos actually finished like 25th.

      With the first scenario you’d still have the extra 2nd to play with. Picking at say 18, you could definitely trade up, but it’d hurt. There’s gonna be around 11 picks in the top 18 or so that could be a QB. It just feels like that’s going to cause a rush early. You’d be competing with much more attractive trade offers and dependent on the right QB falling into the range.

  20. Hughz says:

    Rob, you were high on Jermaine Johnson last year. How has he faired this year? His stats don’t look great, but that doesn’t always tell a full story.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I haven’t watched a second of his tape with the Jets

      • bobzilla says:

        It would be interesting to do a column of your draft favourites from last year and how they are doing in their first year in the league. Would be interesting as a self-reflection exercise as a scout.

        • Rob Staton says:

          It’s a bit early to judge players in that way.

          Ultimately I’ve never had much interest in this. I’ve had some great hits, some big misses. Like everyone. I always self reflect and have done over years.

          I also do this as a hobby in my free time and I’d rather invest what time I have on the current draft than start watching what players on other teams are doing.

    • Connor says:

      Remembered hearing he was hurt. Assumed he hadn’t played much till I checked PFR. He’s played about as much and as well as Mafe turns out. Not great.

      • Peter says:

        Not sure it’s fair to litigate Johnson and mafe’s rookie years. Both have averaged around 35% of snaps.

        Alternately “sure fire, can’t miss,” prospect Thibodeaux has around 79% of snaps and truly not done much with being on the field that often.

        • ShowMeYourHawk says:

          “Alternately ‘sure fire, can’t miss,’ prospect Thibodeaux has around 79% of snaps and truly not done much with being on the field that often.”

          That’s not really fair. The man makes a mean snow angel.

        • cha says:

          Seriously? What games are you watching?

          After missing a month with a sprained MCL to start the season, PFF has him at 71.9.

          He’s tracking with all the other rookie pass rushers just fine on pressures, hits, hurries, etc.

          He basically won the Washington game all by himself three weeks ago.

          Watch him obliterate his man, strip sack the QB, recover the ball and score.

          https://twitter.com/nickfalato/status/1604841785628295170

          • cha says:

            Here he is in the 4th Qtr with 1 minute to play and the Giants up by 8.

            Watch him cover a TE, then break off and tackle Taylor Heinicke at the 1 yard line. He saved a TD with that tackle.

            https://twitter.com/LetMualTellit/status/1604898670797033472

          • Peter says:

            Good for him against Washington.

            He’s still, yet, not the dominating player I was told by everyone he would be.

            Maybe he gets there. You’re the one that got me to look at defensive snaps. And right now he has a metric ton of them and outside of one game he has had big stretches of just being a player.

            A lot of us get down on taylor but at less than 50% of snaps he’s quietly not actually having a bad year.

            • Peter says:

              Additionally this was the same at Oregon. Games where he would go off and Tae over and stretches of being a non factor.

              • Peter says:

                I’m not even anti thibodeaux.

                This whole thing is more about looking at rookies and seeing if they are good or bad yet

            • Connor says:

              He is if you are looking for impact and not empty calorie sacks. Several of his sacks have been as game influencing as a Hail Mary interception with 2 seconds on the clock.

        • Connor says:

          I don’t necessarily blame them for how the year has turned out, simply stating that expectation vs reality hasn’t been great. I can’t speak for Johnson, but as for Mafe I don’t think it matters how good he could have been when he’s dealing with the staff that took away a season of Alton Robinson’s development because they kept forgetting to play him. Seems like the same crap Mafe is dealing with now. It’s a massive part of why I am leery of spending high picks on defensive talent, I no longer trust our staff to do anything with it. How many game tilting players have we drafted on defense in the last handful of years? How about starting quality? At a certain point I stop believing it’s due to hit rate and I start believing it’s staffing.

  21. Jessie says:

    Would you trade the broncos pick (probably 4th overall, no way Texans let themselves win and give up the #1) and the broncos 2nd rounder to move up to the #2 spot to draft Cj stroud? It sounds like a lot but the reality is for a franchise qb for the next 10-15 years it’s absolutely nothing.

    Not to mention in a vacuum Russell Wilson for Charles cross / boye mafe / Cj stroud is just crazy in hindsight. Like you’ve said before it’s a gift and with gifts you can’t be greedy. I really don’t care about that 2nd rounder as much as I care about having a qb who has the upside in 1-2 years from now can be competing with Joe burrow and Mahomes as the best qb in the nfl.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I don’t know why we have to consider things like this when it’s January. We might not need to trade up. We don’t even know what pick we have yet.

  22. Old but Slow says:

    Retired and on a fixed income, I can not afford extra expenses. If we should pass on one of the preferred QBs (Levis, Stroud, Richardson) given the chance, I will break furniture. I am begging the front office, if you have a shot at one, take it. Save my furniture. Save my bank account.

  23. Roy Batty says:

    I’m very, very curious as to how Bryce Yong will look on his workout attire next to all the other QBs at the Combine.

    Will it be so glaringly obvious that he is 40-50 pounds lighter than other prospects that it becomes a meme?

    • Rob Staton says:

      He might not throw

      But I’m sure he’ll be desperate for the toilet after downing two or three jugs of water to pump up his weight for the weigh in

      • Roy Batty says:

        And that is the crux of his dilemma.

        Show up at the combine and look like a high schooler practicing with men, or skip the combine and let the rumor mill go into full affect.

  24. Big Mike says:

    So if Denver wins and AZ loses to SF as is highly likely, our pick from Denver drops to #5, correct?

  25. Denver Hawker says:

    Even if they’re out of the playoffs, Campbell wants the Lions to treat it like a playoff game:
    https://twitter.com/mysportsupdate/status/1610688389900111888?s=46&t=DsNFeRHXl0fFgB6rreJGMQ

  26. dahveed says:

    this is when I just sit back and listen to Instructor Staton

  27. Joshua Smith says:

    I always do this to myself. But I keep thinking about Pete potentially retiring this year.
    If he does retire then I have to believe that was the plan the entire time. Allow the next coach (and John) to draft their QB and start fresh. Logically it make sense.
    But then it seems like such a disrespectful way to have Pete’s last hoorah be a lame duck of a season winning only a handful of games. Unless Pete really did believe in Geno? Seems unlikely but it would fit into the “Pete retires” narrative. He would even be viewed as ending on a high note by making people believe in Geno Smith..I was one of the last people to come around on Geno but I reluctantly did…
    Pete is a really great coach. He should retire…. It’s time. But still a helluva coach and I will miss him when he does.
    Sorry for the rambles… but putting thoughts into words removes them from my brain.😁🤣😂

  28. no frickin clue says:

    Rob,

    With four highly-regarded QBs this year, and therefore possibility that someone tries to trade into the Seahawks’ spot (wherever it ends up), I’m wondering who the QB alternatives might be in the 2024 draft. Wouldn’t that be part of the calculus that Pete and John have to consider, if they agree to a trade-down and miss out on this year’s top-end QB crop?

    • Peter says:

      Damn I hope not.

      Here’s an experiment. They trade out to a team for next year. And then that team does the opposite of the broncos and next years pick is in the late teens or twenties…how do they get a qb then? Spend two firsts or some other combo? That’s not a benefit.

      • no frickin clue says:

        Sure, it’s a gamble. I personally don’t think they do it, UNLESS the number of attractive sophomore QBs this year (or returning juniors this year) is so high that they see it as worth the risk. And even if you do like a whole bunch of them, there’s the risk of an underwhelming 2023 college season, or an injury, what have you.

        I personally would rather see using that first pick on Levis or Richardson. I just think a trade-down has to factor into the thinking, especially if someone offers a war chest in return for what could be the #3 pick.

        • Ben says:

          I was thinking the same yesterday. But now with the schedule as is, #4 or #5 picks seem more likely now that I’m just happy to get one of the 4 QBs.

          The alternative option is trade down, beef up the D and O-line with multiple high picks and consider drafting a QB that maybe getting overlooked (this isn’t my preferred option).

          Hooker is 25, but his number are great.
          Bo Nix has great numbers.
          Stetson Bennett
          Jake Haener
          Dorian Thompson-Robinson (Rob mentioned him specifically in the past month)

          All worth a look. While it’s likely none of them become worthy of note, they’re be worth a look at backup to Geno if John decides value is better based on what’s left when we pick.

          Richardson looks like he can be far better than all of them if/when he puts it together, so clearly there’s value in the 1st round. But if Schnieder trusts himself to pull another Russell Wilson player out of the 2nd/3rd round hat at QB, I’m not going to be as excited, but I’ll definitely be intrigued.

      • Denver Hawker says:

        It’s pretty crazy how future first trades resulted in giving away 4 top-12 picks (as things currently stand). Teams will be weary of that this year. Seahawks really don’t need to trade back for more draft capital. I wouldn’t rule it out from a desperate owner or Trey Lance type package to only slide a couple spots, but just seems highly unlikely to happen.

        • Ben says:

          I agree we don’t need more draft capital necessary. But I think more picks in the top 100 is a reasonable way to approach a draft that the Hawks tend to take. Especially when there’s not a ton of consensus around picks #10 – #50 based on looking at mock drafts and big boards out there.

    • Henry Taylor says:

      I’m seeing it as: 4 highly regarded QBs and 2 highly regarded defensive prospects with the Seahawks guaranteed a top 5 pick. Meaning we’re guaranteed one of those players, and should therefore take one.

      • BK26 says:

        Agreed. Don’t try to overthink and outsmart everyone. It’s been a failing strategy for years. Look at last year: you are gifted picks so use them to pick from the larger talent pool. We already have our gifts, let’s not get greedy.

  29. BoiseSeahawk says:

    I despise these types of draft selections, just filling a void vs getting better or adding a new element to a offensive/defensive scheme. Lazy.

    Can’t afford Geno so they get the top QB who most closely resembles his playing style.

    Jordyn Brooks went down, so go get a LB with a first round pick….

    Its a recipe for mediocrity even if CJ and Trenton are slightly better. It doesn’t add any new options for us to compete differently than we did before.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Nobody is arguing for this

      • Ben says:

        He’s talking about the mock from the 33rd that you just reviewed:

        “Seattle may find it hard to re-sign Geno Smith at a reasonable price.” Pick CJ Stroud
        “With Jordyn Brooks going down with a torn ACL over the weekend, the need in the middle of their defense just increased.” Pick Simpson

        I think you agree that it’s very lazy and not a good quality mock.

      • BoiseSeahawk says:

        I know, didn’t mean it about your writeup, just the mock from the 33rd.

    • GrittyHawk says:

      I don’t see it as lazy. LB is a real need. Barton is a FA this year. Brooks went down with a serious injury and may not be back to full strength next year, if at all. He is also a FA next year.

      Why would you think mocking us a QB is lazy? Regardless of what you think of Geno, he is inarguably not a long-term solution, especially not for a team that at this point doesn’t particularly look like a contender next year. We can and should bring him back for the right price, but we also have an incredible opportunity to draft a QB with a top-5 pick. Frankly I think it would be lazier for them to mock us a defensive player because of Geno’s play this year.

      • Ben says:

        Mocking us a QB solely because he thinks we won’t re-sign Geno…. I can understand thinking that’s lazy. Plenty of people who want us to draft a QB think re-signing Geno can be part of that.

        A 1st round LB because Brooks went down doesn’t make sense. Not when there are Defensive lineman available that’ll truly move the needle.

        Maybe it’s not lazy, but the reasoning I don’t agree. I see us getting a QB because we want to stake our future on someone younger and with good potential. I see us getting a LB because Barton is a spot that could be upgraded… though he’s gotten better.

        I see us drafting players for best value. A QB does that, an ILB in the 1st round… who were the last 5 players who were worth that?

  30. Erik says:

    I have to remind myself that It only takes drafting the RIGHT players, not just a bunch of players. During our Superbowl runs, losing any of the key players like, Kam, Bobby, Earl, Doug, Okung, Russ, etc., would have really worried me. It goes without saying, but hopefully John and Pete draft right this year, like it seems they did the last draft.

  31. Matt says:

    Here’s my thought…JS drove the RW trade and therefore has final say on said capital acquired in that exchange. Not that Pete has no say, but it truly would not shock me if there was a gentleman’s agreement that “this” is John’s decision.

    And to Rob’s point – that doesn’t preclude resigning Geno. In fact, I could see John wanting that even if he wants a QB at 3.

    The more I think of this, the more I think it’s QB. John has been a GM forever and I’m sure he wants to have his fingerprints on the future, that won’t include Pete (eventually).

    This is all speculation, of course. And I would bet John’s top targets are Levi’s and Richardson. In light of Geno’s play – I think he would put Richardson first because the ceiling is like nothing we’ve ever seen, truly.

  32. Andy Heck 66 says:

    Maybe the NFL’s scheduling will break our way.

    “The question then becomes seeding the AFC playoffs without Bills-Bengals. Winning percentage becomes the most obvious method. But there are concerns about equity, given that the winner of the Bills-Bengals game would have been in position to be one of the top seed AFC seeds.

    One possibility would be to add an eighth team to the playoff field in the AFC. This would eliminate the bye for the No. 1 seed.

    To ensure competitive balance, there would have to be eight teams in the NFC, too.”

    • Peter says:

      Lord. 8 teams. Give me a break. That’s dangerously close to participation trophies.

      • Connor says:

        To be fair it would be participation trophies in an activity with possible death and guaranteed brain damage for participants. I care less that it makes it seem like participation trophies and more that it makes games boring. So much less hanging on so many games that it makes it all seem lower stake.

        …other than the aforementioned health stuff

        • Peter says:

          No I’m standing by my statement. I don’t want a playoff expanded to half tge teams.

          Sure any given Sunday. But what’s the point of doing well. Some analytics wonk can start breaking down tge variable of home field advantage over healthy roster and there can be a ton of meaningless mid season games if that were to ever go through.

          Second. I don’t like watching injuries in any activity. And I apologize for sounding gruff. But football is actually an outlandishly dangerous activity and were it not for the billions on the line I’m not sure why it would still continue.

          The math behind 8 teams, or European games and playing on truly f— ed body clocks, or Thursday night football tells me all I need to know about how the nfl feels about player safety.

  33. Trevor says:

    #1 Texans Pick -CJ Stroud

    #2 Carolina Pick (Trade with Bears) Will Levis

    #3 Indy Pick ( Trade with Hawks)- Irsay decides he wants Bryce Young and gives up a 2nd this year plus 1st next year to move up two spots.

    #4 Arizona – Will Anderson

    #5 Seahawks – Anonthy Richarson. Hawks Twitter explodes and draft analysts give him a D but JS gets his freak athelte at QB and picks up more draft capital.

    That’s my ideal scenario for the top 5 of the draft.

    • Rushless pass says:

      Do you think Detroit stays put or you think they may move up for a qb?

      • BobbyK says:

        In that scenario, I’m thinking Detroit tries to make a deal with Arizona. Then the Hawks move down and lose out on a QB. I’d rather have a QB than the extra draft capital in that scenario.

        • Scot04 says:

          100% agree Bobby, if you want a specific QB just take him; Don’t get cute & screw around.

  34. Rushless pass says:

    Hey Rob have you looked at keion white, the edge out of Georgia tech?

  35. Jessie says:

    On the notion of people scared to draft a qb. How many playoff runs do fletcher cox and Grady Jarrett have in their entire careers? These teams have been traditionally god awful and low and behold the only time they are good is when a qb shows up to play for them (prime carson wentz, jalen hurts, prime Matt Ryan)

    Meanwhile Mahomes , burrow , josh Allen are going to be making deep playoff runs for the next ten years. This is a qb driven league

    I’m also tired of the notion that because we have xyz hole we now need a generational hall of fame talent to fill said hole. We really don’t , adding dreemont jones (broncos dt) and siaka Ika or one of many other day two dtackles would completely change our interior d line. We just need quality guys who deserve to start , same goes for the linebacker position.

    • Joe Strummer says:

      This * 100.
      Get a star QB, build up the lines, grab some RB and WR depth. What a great opportunity the Denver pick is for the QB pick.
      Then hope the NFL goes the way of the NCAA and becomes a game of offense, where you don’t need a great defense to go far.

      • Jessie says:

        That’s the thing to me Joel, we can still have a great defense just by having average guys on our d line and line backing core. Al woods, mone, Poona ford, Cody Barton wouldn’t start on any other 3-4 defensive unit. Just because we don’t have Aaron Donald doesn’t mean our defense has to be complete trash. Broncos have a really good defense and have just average quality starters across the board on their d line and line backing core.

  36. Coach says:

    Great article Rob! I was going to ask the community what they think of the following scenario and to let me know if they like a different player in a different round as better value for each of the following positions (I want to know who to follow and root for moving forward)!

    I took the premium positions in the first two rounds QB, Edge, CB, DL. Then S, C, LB, WR, and G for the next 5 picks. Thank you and Go Hawks!

    Round 1
    1st Pick Stroud QB
    2nd Pick Verse/Uzomah Edge

    Round 2
    1st Pick Porter Jr. CB PSU
    2nd Pick Ika DL Baylor

    Round 3
    Skinner S Boise St.

    Round 4
    C Oluwatimi Michigan

    Round 5
    LB Baskerville LSU
    WR Cropper Fresno St.

    Round 6
    G McMahon NC St.

    If we pick the right players, I think our first 9 picks could contribute next year! If you have a better name at one of the given positions, let me know!

    Go Hawks!!

  37. Happy Hawk says:

    What do we know about BJ Ojulari out of LSU? Could he be in the mix for the Hawks 2nd 1st round pick?

    • Starhawk29 says:

      Rob wrote about him earlier this year. IDK where he’d put him now on his board, but I remember him liking the prospect and wishing for more production.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Ojulari has a lot of talent and the frame they like — lean and long, mantis style

      He does a lot well rushing the edge and bending and straightening. Does a really good job dropping. Plays with effort and intensity. He’s just so light though and doesn’t have that much in the way of explosion and power.

  38. BobbyK says:

    What’s our worst case scenario for the Broncos pick?

  39. redhawks says:

    what happens if Bears win? Is there even a chance we get 2nd pick?